By Max De Leeuw
The Grand Rapids Community College golf team came in 9th place in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, beating out 11 other teams at Swan Lake Resort Golf Course, in Plymouth, Ind.
This course has become familiar territory for the Raiders, who had already competed in Plymouth twice during the regular season.
“The course was a lot different than when we had played it before,” head coach Bruce VandenBeldt said. “The greens were hard and shots would not hold. The rough was a little longer and they had also made the course a little longer. That being said, all the teams played under the same conditions and I definitely think it had helped us to have played there before.”
The tournament began on May 20 and ended four rounds later on May 23. Day one left the Raiders in 8th place. Despite dropping to 9th after the next round, GRCC found itself in 8th after the third day. This teeter totter ultimately sent the Raiders home in 9th place. They had a total score of +79, 42 strokes away from the tournament champion, Walters State Community College.
“Anytime you finish in the top 10 at nationals you have to feel pretty good about things. This is the best of the best and I think we proved we belong in that category,” VandenBeldt said.
GRCC took first and second place multiple times throughout the season, including when it won the Western Conference Tournament.
“It was an amazing season for the team – probably one of the best in recent history,” VandenBeldt said. “Our program is known around the country and we hope to continue that tradition.”